You never know when the unexpected will happen. This is why we have emergency funds.
How Much Should I Have in an Emergency Fund?
The big question many people have is how many months of emergency savings you should have. It depends on the person. We all require different amounts to live and maintain. It depends on our debts, our monthly bills, and our living styles.
I’ve seen lots of different figures and numbers on how much money should be in your emergency account. I’ve seen $1000, and I’ve seen more than that. I think it depends on who you ask.
Dave Ramsey says to start with $1000, and then get built up to 3-6 months of expenses.
Personally, I agree with a minimum of $1000. More if you can. I wrote about a huge financial mistake I made here, and if I had just $1000 in our emergency account, it would have still been a disaster.
How Do I Start an Emergency Fund?
Simply, you build an emergency account by whatever means it takes. I know it’s hard. Especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck.
Try to take a small amount from each paycheck. Maybe you can have an auto-deposit into savings. I can’t tell you what amount to use because it’s individual. You might only be able to afford $10 a check. Or you might be able to set back $100 a check. It’s up to you and your personal lifestyle.
How Do I Build an Emergency Fund with No Money?
You can also use the extra money you make from the following suggestions rather than pull from your paycheck. (I’d actually do both, and build it faster.)
Sell Your Stuff
Sell your stuff, and save your profits. You can do this by having a yard sale, consignment sales, utilizing eBay, or even selling on your local Facebook yard sale groups. Get rid of your unnecessary items, and use those profits for your emergency funds. (I actually paid off a credit card by selling stuff out of my basement on eBay!)
There are plenty of online survey opportunities that actually reimburse you quite well. Add a few surveys into your day, and use that money toward that emergency account.
Swagbucks is one place to make money with surveys, but you can also make money in many other ways including just surfing the web! If you sign up through my referral link, you will get a bonus 300 Swagbucks to start with!!
E-poll is another online survey opportunity that I’ve used personally. It adds up quick, and well laid out, easy to use. You can get cash via PayPal or a gift card, and they have drawings every month for cash prizes too.
Related Posts: Make Extra Money with Online Surveys
Money Saving Apps or Programs
Ibotta or Checkout 51. Both of these are ways to scan your grocery receipts (Target, Dollar General, Kroger, Walmart), and earn cash back that can be paid out as a gift card OR CASH. I wrote a more detailed post about both of these free apps and you can read about them here.
Ebates is one of my favorites. If I am already shopping online, I will shop through them and get money back. They pay by check or PayPal. Put that savings right back into that emergency fund.
Cut the Cord
Cut the cord, and get rid of cable. Get rid of your expensive cable bill, and use that allotted money to build that emergency fund. There are plenty of good CHEAPER alternatives to cable, such as Netflix, Hulu, or Sling. We personally use Sling. It’s affordable, very reliable service, and we get everything we want to watch (yes, even Food Network!). We have had Sling for probably almost 2 years now.
Related Posts: How to Painlessly Cut the Cable Cord
Don’t Delay, Start Saving Money Now
Remember, the faster you can build up the emergency savings the better. We never know when an emergency is going to happen, so you want to be prepared.
Start with that $1000 minimum, but then try to build a bit more after that.
I’m curious what your biggest financial mistake has been? Did you need an emergency account to save you? Did you ever find yourself needing emergency money, and not having it?